I was going to title this post 'Happy New Year?' But as I walked home from work this night, I heard the song "night shift" blaring from a bar's speakers and I knew this was a more appropriate title.
I got a job somewhere not too far from my house, I'm combining that with youth service. The job is grueling and a little annoying but I've had customers who serve as bright spots in the dreary hours. Dennis and his friend, a ghanaian duo were supernovae in this regard. Dennis was noisy, aggressive one while his friend was quiet and reserved with a pronounced ghanaian accent. His friend had severe chest pains, pain so bad that he could barely stand straight, listening to him cough would makes you wince in sympathy. He'd been seeing his doctor in Ghana and just came to the pharmacy to fill his prescription, he asked me a few questions the day we met and the way he said "because" told me he was ghanaian. I asked and they confirmed that they were both from Ghana and were working in Nigeria. Thus began our regular Nigeria - Ghana bashing and comparisons. They usually came in the evenings and they'd stay with us for at least ninety minutes and enjoy a few laughs in between attending to customers.
Today Dennis walked in alone, I thought nothing of it because I thought his friend had gone to work. My colleague tells him 'Happy New Year' but he replied that the year was bad. I was attending to a patient while this exchange was going on.
Soon I finished and turned to him, with a smile I asked "where's my boyfriend?" And his reply shook me
I didn't believe him, told him not to talk nonsense but he showed us proof. They came to the pharmacy on the thirtieth of December and we spent the evening laughing, how could he be dead? He'd promised to bring a present for me if I prepared New Year day's rice for him. His illness worsened on the 31st and he died on the first day of January
He died in a foreign land, far from the things he loved; his beloved ghanaian dishes (for such a skinny guy, he was passionate about food), his father, the beaches and forests he said made Nigeria look ordinary. He'll be buried in Ghana though.
I didn't even know his name, I got to know Dennis's name on the thirtieth but he was already close to the door. I was going to ask his name the next time I saw him, how was I to know what fate planned?
As I heard the song "night shift", I knew it was only fitting. His day shift is over and he's resting now. I hope he's smiling, smiling that his smile that seemed to appear magically on his face, without warning.
Rest in Peace my friend.